Push beyond the boundaries of the Eternal City to discover what to see around Rome! So many enchanting cities near Rome are just waiting to be explored.
Rome, the Eternal City, is a place that captures the heart of anyone who visits, thanks to its extraordinary history and timeless beauty. Between iconic monuments such as the Colosseum, the Vatican, the Pantheon and the charming Trastevere district, Rome offers a wide range of must-see attractions.
However, there is a world of wonders to discover in its vicinity as well. In this article, I will guide you through the enchanting places to visit near Rome, perfect for a day trip or a weekend of relaxation and adventure. There are many places to explore, suitable for all tastes: towns, villages, abbeys, UNESCO World Heritage sites, reserves, natural parks, villas and gardens, lakes, spas, archaeological sites, beaches and seaside resorts.
Many of these places can be reached by public transport such as trains and buses, but for some it is advisable to hire a car. Most of these places to see near Rome are UNESCO sites. They offer a wide range of experiences, from archaeological wonders such as Hadrian’s Villa and the Etruscan Necropolis of Cerveteri and Tarquinia, to natural treasures such as the Faggeta di Monte Raschio in Oriolo Romano and the Faggeta del Monte Cimino in Soriano del Cimino.
Exploring these territories also means immersing oneself in the history of Italian cinema and culture. Many celebrities and films have contributed to making many of these places famous. Marcello Mastroianni, the iconic Italian actor, was born in Fontana Liri. While, some of the filming of Checcho Zalone‘s movie “Quo Vado” was shot in the Circeo National Park.
In every season, Rome and its surroundings offer a wide range of unforgettable experiences. Whether you are a history buff, a nature lover, a food and wine lover or a relaxation seeker, these places to visit near Rome will never disappoint. So, choose your itinerary and set out to discover the treasures that surround this city.
I invite you to follow me in this guide to discover what to see outside Rome. Together we will explore interesting cities near Rome or tiny villages that will allow you to discover hidden treasures, within a two-hour drive from the capital. You will be surprised by the variety of places to visit, the unusual activities and the food and wine delights this region has to offer. Get ready to get to know a part of Italy rich in history, culture and natural beauty. 👇
Explore the best cities close to Rome
Rome offers countless treasures to discover, but if you want to get away for a day or a weekend, there are many fascinating places to explore nearby. In this article, I will take you on a discovery of some of the most fascinating places: each with its own cultural, historical, artistic, architectural, naturalistic and gastronomic peculiarities.
1. Viterbo – The City of Popes
Viterbo, known as the “City of Popes”, is a true historical jewel. Its medieval streets, Renaissance buildings and San Pellegrino quarter are just some of the architectural wonders it offers. You cannot miss the Macchina di Santa Rosa, an impressive procession in honour of the city’s patron saint whose origins date back to 1258. Held on the evening of every 3rd of September, it has been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For relaxation lovers, Viterbo is also famous for its renowned Terme dei Papi spa. Many important food and wine events are also held in Viterbo. The best known is “Assaggi”, a wine and food fair with exhibitors from all over Lazio.
2. Civita di Bagnoregio – The Dying City
Civita di Bagnoregio is a magical and evocative place, often called “The Dying City” because of its progressive deterioration due to clay soil erosion. To enter the town, you must pay an entrance fee of €5 per person to support and preserve this hamlet. The ancient town is suspended between heaven and earth and offers a unique experience. Its historic centre is a maze of cobbled streets and stone houses and offers breathtaking views of the valley below. The town is enveloped by the Valle dei Calanchi, a fairytale natural spectacle of tuffaceous rock. Explore the village, taste the local cuisine in one of the small restaurants and enjoy the tranquillity of this timeless place.
3. Sacro Bosco di Bomarzo – The Monster Garden
The Sacred Wood of Bomarzo, also known as the Monster Garden, is a unique place. This 16th century park is adorned with bizarre stone sculptures and creatures that seem to emerge from the earth itself. It is a fascinating place, full of symbolism and mystery. As you explore this park, you will come across mythical creatures, amazing architecture and a fairytale atmosphere.
4. Villa Adriana and Villa d’Este in Tivoli – Masterpieces of Renaissance Architecture
Tivoli, a pretty town near Rome, is famous for two jewels of Italian architecture. Villa Adriana, the residence of the Roman emperor Hadrian, is a complex of ruins and Italian-style gardens of extraordinary beauty. Villa d’Este, on the other hand, is renowned for its spectacular gardens and fascinating fountains, including the famous and scenic Fountain of Neptune. Both villas are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
5. Lake Bracciano – Relaxation and History
Lake Bracciano, located between Rome and Viterbo, is an ideal place for a day of relaxation and sport. You can enjoy scuba diving, sailing sports and canoeing. But that is not all: around the lake there are delightful villages such as Anguillara Sabazia and Trevignano Romano, overlooking its shores. In addition, the Orsini-Odescalchi Castle in Bracciano is one of the largest Renaissance residences in Europe and offers a spectacular view of the surrounding area. This area is part of the Bracciano – Martignano Regional Natural Park. Near the lake, you will also find Canale Monterano, known as the “ghost town”. A filming location for numerous famous movies such as “Ben-Hur” and “Il Marchese del Grillo”.
6. Sabina – Discovering the Villages
Sabina is an enchanting hilly region dotted with ancient medieval villages. Some of the gems to explore include Fara in Sabina with the Abbey of Farfa, Castelnuovo di Farfa with the Olive Oil Museum, Roccantica, Tarano, Torri in Sabina, Nerola and Palombara Sabina. Each village has its own history and charm, ranging from architectural beauty to rustic atmosphere and excellent local cuisine.
7. Sora – Birthplace of Vittorio De Sica
Sora is a pretty town located in the Lazio region, and is famous for being the birthplace of the famous actor and director Vittorio De Sica. Through its historical centre, with cobbled streets and ancient buildings, you can breathe in the atmosphere of an eventful past. The Cathedral of Sora, dedicated to St Peter, is a testimony to architectural mastery and a focal point for history enthusiasts. The castle of Sora, also known as Rocca dei Borgia, dominates the town from above and offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the valley below.
8. Waterfalls of Isola del Liri – The Spectacle of Water
The Waterfalls of Isola del Liri, in the province of Frosinone, are an extraordinary natural spectacle. These waterfalls are the only ones in Europe located within a built-up area. You can walk along the scenic paths and admire the falls from various perspectives. It is an ideal place for a trip out of town near Rome in the midst of nature.
9. Veroli – Historical Treasures and Casamari Abbey
Veroli is a picturesque hill town with a rich history and fascinating cultural heritage. Near Veroli, you can visit Casamari Abbey, an ancient 12th century Cistercian abbey famous for its Gothic architecture and cloister. The Abbey is a place of religious and historical importance. It stands on the ruins of an ancient Roman temple in honour of the goddess Ceres, the maternal goddess of the earth and fertility.
10. Arpino – The City of Cicero
Arpino is the birthplace of the famous Roman philosopher and orator Cicero. This place is rich in history and offers the opportunity to discover the roots of one of the great thinkers of ancient Rome. You can visit the Ciceronian Museum and explore the historical centre, admiring the architecture and culture that inspired Cicero.
11. Castelli Romani – Natural and Gastronomic Treasures
The Castelli Romani region is a destination you absolutely must visit if you do not know what to see near Rome. This area consists of a series of picturesque hilltop towns, each with its own unique charm. Some of the best known towns include Frascati, Castel Gandolfo, Genzano, Grottaferrata, Nemi, Ariccia, Rocca di Papa and many others. The place is characterised by a hilly landscape that offers spectacular panoramic views of the Roman countryside.
The Castelli Romani are part of the Castelli Romani Regional Park and are home to two enchanting lakes: Lake Albano and Lake Nemi. These lakes provide the opportunity to relax and enjoy water activities such as boating and fishing. From a gastronomic point of view, this area is renowned for its culinary specialities. You can taste Nemi strawberries, small local strawberries with a unique flavour, fine wines such as Frascati and Castelli Romani DOC, Ariccia porchetta, a traditional pork dish, and Lariano bread, a rustic bread that represents the local tradition.
12. Sutri – History and Nature
Sutri is a charming medieval village in the hills of Tuscia, known for its history and natural beauty. The historical centre preserves traces of the ancient Etruscan civilisation and features an impressive medieval fortress. The town also offers the opportunity to explore its well-preserved Roman amphitheatre and admire its churches.
13. Caprarola – The Royal Palace of Caprarola
Caprarola is famous for its Reggia, a magnificent Renaissance palace built in the 16th century. This papal residence is an architectural masterpiece. The architectural fulcrum of the building is its unique polygonal shape, with inner courtyards and a multi-level structure. The Renaissance frescoes and decorations in the rooms make each room a masterpiece of art. A visit to the palace and its gardens is a unique cultural and historical experience.
14. The Charterhouse of Trisulti and the Caves of Pastena and Collepardo – Hidden Treasures
The Charterhouse of Trisulti is one of the most fascinating monasteries in central Italy. Located near Collepardo, it is surrounded by centuries-old forests and oak woods. This Carthusian monastery offers an atmosphere of serenity and tranquillity, with an impressive cloister and a Romanesque-Gothic church from 1204. Inside, you can visit the library and an old pharmacy from the 1500s belonging to the Carthusian monks. For adventure lovers, the Pastena and Collepardo Caves are the perfect choice. A system of underground caves, with spectacular limestone formations, among the largest in Italy. Exploring these natural wonders is definitely one of the most impressive experiences among the things to see near Rome.
15. Priverno with the Abbey of Fossanova – Religious Heritage
Priverno is a town in the province of Latina and is home to the Abbey of Fossanova. Founded in 1135, it is a medieval architectural jewel. Initially built in Romanesque style, it later underwent modifications in Cistercian-Gothic style. It is the burial place of St Thomas Aquinas, the 13th century Italian philosopher and theologian. A visit to the abbey is an opportunity to immerse yourself in religious history and medieval architecture.
16. Montecassino Abbey – A Religious Icon
The Abbey of Montecassino, located on a hilltop near Cassino, is one of the most famous and oldest monasteries in the Christian world. Founded by St Benedict of Norcia in the 6th century, the abbey is an important spiritual and cultural centre. The current structure was rebuilt after World War II, as it had been severely damaged during bombing raids. Inside there is a valuable library that holds numerous medieval manuscripts, ancient books and historical documents. This collection bears witness to the intellectual wealth of the monastery over the centuries. A visit to the abbey offers the opportunity to discover the history and spiritual legacy of St Benedict.
17. Garden of Ninfa – A Botanical Paradise
The Garden of Ninfa is a work of botanical art located in the vicinity of Latina. This garden is a paradise of beauty and serenity, with lakes, streams and an extraordinary variety of plants from all over the world. It is an ideal place for a relaxing walk or a guided tour to discover its history and unique flora.
18. Villa Lante in Bagnaia – A Renaissance Garden
Villa Lante, in Bagnaia, is one of the gems of the Italian Renaissance. This villa was built in the 16th century and features an extraordinary Italian-style garden with fountains, water features, statues and architectural complexes. Walking through the gardens of Villa Lante is like taking a trip back in time, immersing yourself in the magnificence of Renaissance landscape art.
19. Ulysses Riviera – Enchanting Coast
The Riviera di Ulisse is a coastal region stretching south of Rome along the Tyrrhenian Sea. This coastal region has a rich and ancient history, and its name is linked to the mythological legends of the Greek hero Ulysses, also known as Odysseus in Greek mythology. This area offers a number of fascinating seaside resorts, including Sperlonga, Gaeta and Terracina. The golden beaches, crystal-clear waters and picturesque villages make this coastline an ideal place for a seaside getaway to savour Mediterranean cuisine.
20. Subiaco – The Monastery of St Benedict
Subiaco is a town in the hills east of Rome and is famous for being the place where St Benedict wrote his Rule and founded his Monastery in 529 A.D. This place of worship and the surrounding complex are historically and religiously important. According to tradition, St Benedict retired to Subiaco in search of a more isolated monastic life. Here, he lived in a cave known as the “Sacra Speco” (Sacred Cave), devoting himself to prayer and the ascetic life. His presence attracted other followers, giving rise to the monastery. A visit to Subiaco is an opportunity to discover the history of monasticism and spirituality.
21. Vignanello and its Castle – an Architectural Masterpiece
Vignanello is a picturesque town in the province of Viterbo, and is known for its Ruspoli Castle. It is a masterpiece of Renaissance and Baroque architecture and is surrounded by beautiful Italian gardens. A visit to the Ruspoli Castle offers an opportunity to learn about the history and art of this period. The palace also houses a collection of valuable works of art and frescoes. It is a place where history blends with natural beauty, offering an authentic experience in the heart of Lazio.
22. Greccio – The Living Crib of St Francis
Greccio is a small town in the province of Rieti and is famous for being the place where St Francis of Assisi established the first living nativity scene. This historical event took place in 1223, when St Francis wanted to represent the birth of Jesus in a realistic way, using people and animals. The Greccio Living Crib is still a living tradition and is performed every year during the Christmas season, attracting visitors from all over the world.
23. Island of Ponza – Pearl of the Tyrrhenian Sea
Ponza Island is one of the hidden gems of the Tyrrhenian Sea in front of the Gulf of Gaeta. This island offers breathtaking beaches, crystal-clear waters, sea caves and spectacular coastal landscapes. It is famous for its pebble and stone beaches and unspoilt nature. It is an ideal place for a summer getaway, boat trips, local culinary delights, walking and trekking.
24. The Monte Gelato Waterfalls – Nature Oasis
The Monte Gelato waterfalls are an enchanting natural oasis located near Mazzano Romano. This place offers scenic paths, small waterfalls and natural pools. It is an ideal place to spend a day outdoors, go hiking and relax in the midst of nature.
25. Ostia Antica – The Ancient Port of Rome
Ostia Antica is an extraordinary archaeological site that offers a unique opportunity to explore Rome’s ancient port. This ancient port city was founded in the 4th century BC at the mouth of the Tiber River and is well preserved to this day. You can stroll through the ancient streets, admire the remains of buildings, mosaics and theatres. Ostia Antica houses an ancient Roman theatre with well-preserved tiers of seats. The theatre is used today for performances, plays and other cultural events. This site offers a valuable window into the Roman past and is a fascinating excursion for those wishing to explore the history and culture of the Roman Empire outside Rome itself.
26. Lake Bolsena – The Pearl of the Volcanic Lakes
Lake Bolsena is one of Europe’s largest volcanic lakes and is located north of Rome. This natural oasis offers beautiful beaches, clean waters and picturesque villages on its shores. Isola Bisentina and Isola Martana, in the centre of the lake, add to its charm. It is an ideal place for swimming, water sports and enjoying the local cuisine.
27. Orvieto – City of Caves and the Duomo
Orvieto is a charming Umbrian city located on a tuff plateau. The Cathedral of Orvieto is one of the best things to see around Rome: one of the main examples of Gothic architecture in Italy. The underground grottoes, such as the Pozzo di San Patrizio, offer an evocative experience and a unique perspective on the history of the city. Strolling through the characteristic streets of the historic centre, you can find craft shops where you can buy ceramic, leather and wooden objects. There are also several shops where you can buy local food and wine delicacies such as Orvieto DOC wine and EVOO from the Orvieto hills.
28. Lake Canterno – The Ghost Lake
Lake Canterno is a lake of karstic origin in the Ernici Mountains. During the summer months, the lake dries up almost completely, leaving only a small pool of water. During the winter months, the lake fills up again. This natural cycle has led to the nickname “Ghost Lake”. It is an interesting destination for those who wish to observe nature in its evolution.
29. Fiuggi, Anagni and Piglio – Discovering the Villages
Fiuggi is famous for its mineral water springs and its medieval historical centre. The Terme di Bonifacio VIII (Boniface VIII Spa) is a reference point for wellness and relaxation. Near Fiuggi you can visit other interesting places. Anagni, known as the “City of Popes”, is renowned for its religious history and artistic heritage. Piglio, on the other hand, is famous for its Cesanese wine, a high-quality local red wine. The town is surrounded by vineyards, and there are many wine cellars offering tastings of this fine product.
30. Cerveteri and the Castle of Santa Severa – History and Sea
Cerveteri is a town famous for its Etruscan archaeological site, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This site includes Etruscan chamber tombs and a well-preserved necropolis area. The city near Rome is also known for its picturesque historic centre. Which cities close to Rome to visit, if you love the sea? On the coast you will find the Castle of Santa Severa. This medieval castle offers a spectacular view of the sea and often hosts exhibitions and cultural events.
31. Artena – The Beauty of the Middle Ages
Artena is a charming medieval town located on the slopes of the Lepini Mountains. This town retains its historical charm with narrow cobbled alleys and ancient squares. Artena offers spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and is an ideal destination for a quiet stroll through history. Artena is renowned for its traditional cuisine. The town’s restaurants offer typical dishes of Latium cuisine, including specialities such as porchetta (roast suckling pig), local cheeses and traditional desserts.
32. Calcata – The Painters’ Village
Calcata is a charming village suspended in time known for being a community of artists. The narrow streets and medieval houses provide a unique atmosphere. The village is known for its shops and restaurants. If you are an art lover, Calcata is the ideal place to explore the works of local artists and admire the surrounding landscape. If you don’t know what to do near Rome and would like to organise an evocative excursion, just a few metres from the village, you can see the Fosso del Peccato. A gorge at the entrance that is difficult to spot, but offers unique emotions to the traveller.
33. Anzio and Nettuno – History and Sea
Anzio and Nettuno are two fascinating coastal resorts located south of Rome. Anzio is famous for being the site of the Allied landing in World War II. You can visit the Museum dedicated to this historical event, a place of cultural interest. The town also offers beautiful beaches, a marina and excellent fish restaurants. Nettuno is known for its beach and charming old town. A very popular location during the summer period. Both cities are a combination of history and relaxation by the sea.
34. San Felice Circeo – Between Mythology and the Sea
San Felice Circeo is a pearl located on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea, a short distance from Rome. This place is steeped in mythology and takes its name from Circe, the sorceress of the Homeric epic. According to legend, she lived in these lands. San Felice Circeo boasts a fascinating history, evidenced by archaeological remains, including sea caves that may have been used by the woman. The Circeo National Park is one of the area’s natural treasures. Its sand dunes, holm oak forests and coastal ponds provide unique habitats for the local fauna. The promontory reveals splendid panoramic views. The area also provides opportunities for snorkelling and diving.
35. Cervara di Roma – Spectacular Panoramas
Cervara di Roma is a small village located at an altitude of 1053 metres, the highest in the province of Rome. It is located in the Monti Simbruini Natural Park, known for its breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. The name derives from the deer that populate this area. It is characteristic for its “Montagna scolpita dagli Artisti”, a kind of open-air museum where faces are carved into the rock. This locality offers the opportunity to go on hikes and walks surrounded by nature and to discover the peaceful atmosphere of an authentic mountain village.
36. Tolfa – Treasures of History and Nature
Tolfa is a town located in the Monti della Tolfa, famous for its alum mines and its historical heritage. The town maintains a rich tradition linked to the extraction of alum: a mineral of volcanic origin used to heal wounds, dye wool and for its deodorant and haemostatic properties. Visitors can explore the abandoned mines and learn about the history of this resource. Tolfa is also surrounded by woods and offers the possibility of excursions and outdoor activities.
Now that you know all about what to see near Rome, explore these amazing cities close to Rome. Plan your tailor-made trip and discover Lazio with Italia Delight! 😉
Cover photo: alice-marziali-unsplash
Featured photo: carlos-ibanez-unsplash